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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Default Bringing up raw 19mm plywood to furniture grade, clear-coat satin finish

    Hi - I'm a newbie and hope you can help ...

    I've created a nice new kitchen table top out of raw 19mm non-structural plywood, the type of sheets you typically buy in Bunnings. It's 1500mm x 750mm has a double thickness edge (38mm) and a routed edge around the top of it. I'm pleased the way it turned out considering my lack of woodwork experience.

    OK this is where i need your help ........ I want to make this look furniture grade with a liquid repellent top. I'd like a clear-coat satin finish. From my research, it looks like I need to clean the ply top with a duster, apply clear-coat and then light sand. The last 2 steps has to be done about 4 times.

    Can someone advise please on whether the above process is right? What product do I use, how should I apply it, what sandpaper grit I should use, orbital sander or by hand. Any advise would be appreciated - I don't want to ruin the table top!

    Thanks in advance.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009


    Feast Watson has products just for this type of job. They have a sanding sealer, which works quite well. Depending on how bad the surface is as to whether you need to fill any imperfections (knot holes, dings, grain blemishes), you may need some fillers. The FW wipe on Poly, is relatively easy to apply, comes in Satin or gloss.
    Once your surface is filled, sanded, and you are happy with that, then apply the top coats, light sanding, wiping off dust, and applying more coats to your need..
    The FW WOP, is a good hard wearing water repellent finish.
    Or if you don't want to use WOP, maybe a clear floor finish. That'd be good and hard wearing, water repellent too.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012


    Can always do a test on the underside. Most bunnings ply will turn out quite blotchy due to the low grade of it.

    Osmo might be another option. Orbital sand to 150 grit, roll on a coat, allow to dry, very lightly sand it back with 320-400 grit to smoothen it, clean off the sanding dust with a damp microfibre and then roll on a second lighter coat.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Jarrahdale WA


    +1 floor poly. I use it for kitchen and laundry benchtops, several coats and wet sand in between with the tiniest bit of detergent in the water to carry off the dust..

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2019


    cabbots do make a "benchtop" water based poly. Can only assume its meant to be more foodsafe then other products. I used it on a kitchen in our rental property and it held up ok. The thing you will have to watch out for is putting warm/hot objects on it.

    its 2 or 3 hours in between coats so budget a day or two if you're wanting to get 4 coats down. I'd personally go gloss if you want that really shiny smooth look.

    Cabot'''s 1L Satin Clear Benchtop Timber Finish - Bunnings Australia

    as for the process.
    fill any voids/divots (if there are any)
    sand with 120 grit
    sand with 240 grit
    apply first coat of polyurethane
    light sand again with 240 grit as the water based stuff will raised the grain
    apply 2nd coat of poly
    lightly sand again with 240
    apply 3rd coat

    i would think 3 coats is probably enough.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008


    Another vote for floor poly. Method as per havabeer above, but add a 180 grit step between 120 and 240. The rule of thumb is that you shouldn't skip more than one grade, so with the standard grits going 120, 150, 180, 220, 240, you skip 150 and 220 and do 120, 180 and 240.

    Another important note is to not go finer than 240, aside from being visually unnecessary (unless you have microscopes for eyes to see 240 grit scratches), poly needs a somewhat rough surface to bond to and sanding beyond 240 can start to affect how well the poly sticks.

    Gloss shows defects really well, I'd be going for satin.

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